2 Tea Partiers Square Off in Utah GOP Senate Primary

Bridgewater faces Lee for Bob Bennett seat
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2010 5:00 AM CDT
Senate candidate Tim Bridgewater speaks at the 2010 Utah GOP Convention in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Steve C. Wilson)
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(Newser) – Like many Republican primaries around the country, Utah's election today features a Tea Party-backed candidate who praises the virtues of small government. In the Beehive State, however, the Tea Party pick isn't running against a Washington-backed candidate—Sen. Bob Bennett got the boot when the field was narrowed to two—but another Tea Partier. One a constitutional scholar and the other the founder of a consulting firm specializing in emerging markets, both campaigned on cutting federal spending.

Frontrunner Tim Bridgewater has won the backing of David Kirkham. one of the founders of the state's Tea Party movement, while his rival, Mike Lee, has the support of the Tea Party Express. "They both go for the same principles," Kirkham tells the AP. "They pretty much believe the same things. It's just a matter of preference, a matter of personality." With Utah not having sent a Democratic senator to Washington since 1970, today's vote is almost certain to determine who Utah's next senator will be.

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